RIU-backed armyworm control programmes commended in Tanzania
23 March 2011
The RIU-backed armyworm control programme
was commended recently at the 17th meeting of the National Plant Protection Advisory Committee (NPPAC). This influential body, which was meeting in Dar es Salaam, invited Eco Agri Consult to make a presentation on the new biological control initiative to manage armyworm in Tanzania.
The Company, with support from DFID-RIU, is making great efforts to enable Tanzania farmers to access safe and affordable bio-pesticides to control African armyworm, a major cereal crop pest in Tanzania. NPPAC is the body which advises the Tanzania Minister of Agriculture on all plant protection matters.
An issue of particular interest to the committee was the enabling environment created by RIU programme which has encouraged the public and private sector to work together to address major issues confronting poor farmers in the rural areas, exemplified in the investment in armyworm control. RIU funding was made available to Eco Agric Consult to establish an armyworm control bio-pesticide production facility in Arusha, Tanzania. NPPAC was interested in the issues and challenges such a facility posed for the regulatory system for bio-pesticides.
Wilfred Mushobozi of Eco Agri Consult said:
"We have been in conversations with Henry Wainwright of the Real IPM Company, Kenya, about the value of collaborating on a familiarization tour to India to view their leading edge bio-pesticide industry and approaches to bio-pesticide registration. The National Plant Protection Advisory Committee was very interested in the lessons such a trip could offer regulatory systems of bio-pesticides industry in Tanzania, since the NPV production facility is the first of its kind in the country.
Our plans have developed over the past year. Although we received funding for an NPV production facility we have realized that we can do so much more with the space we have. We are now seeing this facility as a bio-tech hub for the region.
The first programme to be developed for the bio-tech hub is tissue culture bananas. This builds on a contact made at the RIU Best Bets funding round in November 2009. Indeed it was through the innovative process design for the allocation of Best Bet funds that we met our colleagues at the Real IPM company.
For private sector companies like us, support to make new first rate business contacts around East Africa has been a highly valuable and unexpected consequence of our work with RIU, helped considerably by the brokerage work done by Andy Ward of RIU whose input we really value."